was invented by King Sejong in 1446 with assistance from
some scholars to give the people an alphabet that was easy
to read and write. Throughout the world, there are some
3,000 spoken languages but roughly only 100 alphabets.
Among these, only Hangeul was systematically invented
without influence from any other language. There also haven't
been any other books published by its creators to explain
the scientific principles employed or the background to
communicate information in the exact manner in which they
had intended. For this reason alone, linguists from around
the world hold Hangeul with very high regard. It
also explains why UNESCO included Hangeul on its
list of Memory of the World Heritage in October 1997.
The influence of the Korean Wave and the strength of the Korean economy have encouraged a growing number of people overseas to learn about Korean culture and study the Korean language. Many universities around the world have recently opened departments of Korean language. In accordance with such measures, the Korean government has been opening branches of Sejong Academy, a Korean language educational center, around the world, and continues to develop, translate, and distribute manuals on basic Hangeul in various languages designed specifically for local cultures.
As the number of people studying the Korean language continued to grow, it became necessary to introduce an official examination to test Korean language proficiency in order to keep up with rising demand. The Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) is administered by the National Institute for International Education. In 2005, the Employment Permit System-Korean Language Test targeted for foreign immigrant workers was introduced.